Apologies, apologies, apologies

Calling out men for bad behavior has amplified and became more public over the past week.  My guess is the apologies will continue as when things go bad, they generally go bad quickly.

We all know, from a very young age, when you do something bad, you apologize.  As a kid, you might not know that what you did was wrong, but a lesson is learned and you apologize to the appropriate people for your mistake. You might have had to say, “I will never do that again” with the hope that it is engrained in your moral fiber for eternity.

Makes me wonder about many of these men who are now being called on the mat to acknowledge and apologize for their unacceptable behavior if they even knew what they were doing was inappropriate.  Is it that they have been behaving like this their entire life and nobody has every said anything to them?  Is it purely about abusing their power?  Is it zero respect for women in their business?  Has it always just been about them?  Did they not learn that hitting on a woman in a business environment is wrong? How would their mother feel about this? Was your father a misogynist too?  Did he treat your mother in a way that you learned that it was ok to be demeaning to women?  You have to wonder.

Some of these apologies from the men who have been called out on their bad behavior are being written by PR people and others are not.  No doubt the dust is far from settled. The good news is more women now feel empowered to speak out in the tech world.  Will we see an onslaught in other industries because we all know it exists everywhere?   We have a President who for all intents and purposes appears to be a chauvinist pig or perhaps he just feels powerful dissing women in his world that is overseen by 70-year white men (born in 1930) who grew up in a world where very few women were in the top echelons of the workforce.

What is changing is that more women are taking over a bigger piece of the board room.  More women are running companies including publicly traded ones. More women are starting their own businesses.  Women who are now having children expect equal responsibility with their spouses, that means everyone does the laundry and empties the dishwasher.  Women now make 85% of the purchasing decisions in this country.  Women are gaining equal footing and that is clearly shifting the comfort level for calling out bad behavior in public.

In the past 5 years, we have seen women on college campuses come forward on sexual assaults.  We have witnessed women who were drugged by Cosby publicly air what happened to them and bring him to court.  We have heard the stories of atrocious behavior among investors and entrepreneurs in the tech industry.   There is a shift happening. The seeds were planted back a few decades ago when our daughters were told that they could do anything, be anything and that they were on equal footing with their male counterparts.  And most families need two incomes to survive so the workforce is growing with women and that is why more women control over 50% of personal wealth.

I certainly hope that we are at a crossroads.  That this type of abject behavior will not be accepted by men because it obviously isn’t accepted by women.  That these bad characters will find themselves without power and access.  Apologies, apologies, apologies are just words that you learn from at a young age but as a full-fledged adult, it is your moral fiber that I have a problem with and no apology will change that because at some level you knew exactly what you were doing was not okay.